nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2020‒03‒09
fourteen papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Weather shocks, credit and production efficiency of rice farmers in Vietnam By Thanh-Tung Nguyen; Trung Thanh Nguyen; Ulrike Grote
  2. Co-Location, Socioeconomic Status and Perceptions of Environmental Change in the Indian Sundarbans By Dasgupta,Susmita; Guha,Bansari; Wheeler,David
  3. Labelled Loans, Credit Constraints and Sanitation Investments By Augsburg,Britta; Caeyers,Bet; Giunti,Sara; Malde,Bansi Khimji; Smets,Susanna
  4. Does the increase in competition between schools improve the quality of the service? The role of educational reform in Chile By Cartagena Farias, Javiera; McIntosh, Steven
  5. No Household Left Behind : Afghanistan Targeting the Ultra Poor Impact Evaluation By Bedoya Arguelles,Guadalupe; Coville,Aidan; Haushofer,Johannes; Isaqzadeh,Mohammad Razaq; Shapiro,Jeremy
  6. Labor and Welfare Impacts of a Large-Scale Livelihoods Program : Quasi-Experimental Evidence from India By Pandey,Vivek; Gupta,Abhishek; Gupta,Shivani
  7. The Impact of Mobile Money on Poor Rural Households : Experimental Evidence from Uganda By Wieser,Christina; Bruhn,Miriam; Kinzinger,Johannes Philipp; Ruckteschler,Christian Simon; Heitmann,Soren
  8. Does Child Marriage Matter for Growth? By Pritha Mitra; Eric M. Pondi Endengle; Malika Pant; Luiz F. Almeida
  9. Firms and Labor in Times of Violence: Evidence from the Mexican Drug War By Hâle Utar
  10. Accelerating technical change through video-mediated agricultural extension: Evidence from Ethiopia: By Abate, Gashaw T.; Bernard, Tanguy; Makhija, Simrin; Spielman, David J.
  11. Accounting for the rapid reduction of child stunting in Tanzania over 2005-2016: By Headey, Derek D.; Heckert, Jessica; Ndiaye, Biram; Brero, Mauro; Assey, Vincent
  12. Modeling the effectiveness of the lead farmer approach in agricultural extension service provision: Nationally representative panel data analysis in Malawi: By Ragasa, Catherine
  13. Elite Capture of Foreign Aid : Evidence from Offshore Bank Accounts By Andersen,Jorgen Juel; Johannesen,Niels; Rijkers,Bob
  14. School-Based Management and Learning Outcomes : Experimental Evidence from Colima, Mexico By Garcia Moreno,Vicente A.; Gertler,Paul J.; Patrinos,Harry Anthony

  1. By: Thanh-Tung Nguyen; Trung Thanh Nguyen; Ulrike Grote
    Abstract: Enhancement of rice production efficiency in developing countries is important to improve the livelihoods of farmers and to ensure global food security for a growing population. Despite significant progress in recent decades, rice production in these countries is facing multiple challenges from climate change, land degradation, to the increasing competition for land and labour from urbanization and industrialization. Given that rice farmers in Vietnam often suffer from extreme weather events and lack of access to credit, our study aims to (i) investigate the impact of weather shocks and credit on the rice production efficiency, and to (ii) examine the role of credit in mitigating the impact of weather shocks. We find that weather shocks, land fragmentation and the migration of household members are the major sources of inefficiency. Meanwhile, livestock, farm mechanization and education level are positive factors for rice production efficiency. In addition, our results show that access to credit plays a significant role in mitigating the negative impact of weather shocks. Our studies call for more assistance and support to farmers in mitigating the severe effect of weather shocks, in particular, via the promotion of credit market. In addition, the encouragement of farm mechanization, land defragmentation, livestock farming and the improvement of rural education should be given a high priority to improve the rice production efficiency.
    Keywords: Weather shocks, Agricultural production efficiency, Credit
    JEL: Q12 Q54
    Date: 2020–02
  2. By: Dasgupta,Susmita; Guha,Bansari; Wheeler,David
    Abstract: Research on the determinants of collective action in the commons generally focuses on interest-group heterogeneity, implicitly assuming that groups perceive the same problems but have different priorities. This paper changes the focus to the role played by perceptions themselves. Within localities, collective action may be easier if elite and non-elite households have similar perceptions of environmental problems. Regionally, collective action may be aided by common perceptions among local elites who communicate across village lines. This paper uses regression analysis to explore variations in environmental perceptions across classes and localities, using new survey data from the Indian Sundarbans. The paper finds that perceptions vary significantly across localities. Within localities, perceptions among elite households vary significantly more than perceptions among non-elite households. The results therefore favor locally-oriented collective action in the region, along with local governance that promotes non-elite participation.
    Keywords: Global Environment,Educational Sciences,Hydrology,Environmental Strategy,Environmental Management,Environmental Governance,Brown Issues and Health,Pollution Management&Control
    Date: 2019–06–26
  3. By: Augsburg,Britta; Caeyers,Bet; Giunti,Sara; Malde,Bansi Khimji; Smets,Susanna
    Abstract: Credit constraints are considered to be an important barrier hindering adoption of preventive health investments among low-income households in developing countries. However, it is not obvious whether, and the extent to which, the provision of labelled micro-credit -- where the loan is linked to the investment only through its label -- will boost human capital investments, particularly when it is characterised by other attractive attributes, such as a lower interest rate. This paper studies a cluster randomised controlled trial of a sanitation micro-credit program in rural India, which made available lower interest loans for sanitation. The loans were linked with sanitation through their name only. The loans were not bundled with any toilet, and loan use was weakly monitored, but not enforced. Hence it is not directly obvious that the loan should boost sanitation investments. A simple theoretical framework indicates that the intervention could increase sanitation ownership through three channels -- relaxation of credit constraints, salience of the loan label, or the lower interest rate. The presented empirical evidence, combined with model predictions, allow to conclude that the loan label -- which to date has not received much attention in the literature -- significantly impacts households borrowing and investment behaviour. Labelling loans is thus a viable strategy to improve uptake of lumpy preventive health investments.
    Date: 2019–05–07
  4. By: Cartagena Farias, Javiera; McIntosh, Steven
    Abstract: We analyse the effect of geographic competition between schools on academic performance in Chile. The analysis controls for prior pupil performance, and a range of school and municipality characteristics. We allow for the endogeneity of voucher school location, using the number of local Catholic churches as an instrument. We find that a larger number of public schools positively affects the quality of education of other schools located in the same area, particularly amongst middle-class families and in middle-ranking schools. However, the number of voucher schools is associated with lower performance in neighbouring schools, which we attribute to pupil sorting.
    Keywords: school choice; competition; educational vouchers
    JEL: I20 I28
    Date: 2018–08–05
  5. By: Bedoya Arguelles,Guadalupe; Coville,Aidan; Haushofer,Johannes; Isaqzadeh,Mohammad Razaq; Shapiro,Jeremy
    Abstract: The share of people living in extreme poverty fell from 36 percent in 1990 to 10 percent in 2015 but has continued to increase in many fragile and conflict-affected areas where half of the extreme poor are expected to reside by 2030. These areas are also where the least evidence exists on how to tackle poverty. This paper investigates whether the Targeting the Ultra Poor program can lift households out of poverty in a fragile context: Afghanistan. In 80 villages in Balkh province, 1,219 of the poorest households were randomly assigned to a treatment or control group. Women in treatment households received a one-off"big-push"package, including a transfer of livestock assets, cash consumption stipend, skills training, and coaching. One year after the program ended -- two years after assets were transferred -- significant and large impacts are found across all the primary pre-specified outcomes: consumption, assets, psychological well-being, total time spent working, financial inclusion, and women's empowerment. Per capita consumption increases by 30 percent (USD 24 purchasing power parity, USD 7 nominal per month) with respect to the control group, and the share of households below the national poverty line decreases from 82 percent in the control group to 62 percent in the treatment group. Using modest assumptions about consumption impacts, the intervention has an estimated internal rate of return of 26 percent, excluding non-monetized improvements in psychological well-being, women's empowerment, and children's health and education. These findings suggest that"big-push"interventions can dramatically reduce poverty in fragile and conflict-affected regions.
    Keywords: Inequality,Livestock and Animal Husbandry,Educational Sciences,Gender and Development,Services&Transfers to Poor,Disability,Economic Assistance,Access of Poor to Social Services,Income
    Date: 2019–06–10
  6. By: Pandey,Vivek; Gupta,Abhishek; Gupta,Shivani
    Abstract: Improving the livelihoods of poor households and transitioning more women back to the labor force is a major challenge in South Asia. Self-employment promoted through women's groups has often been cited as a promising intervention towards this end. However, the evidence on the impact of such programs on household income and labor outcomes is limited, especially for government programs like the National Rural Livelihoods Mission in India. This study aims to provide empirical evidence on the welfare impacts of an"intensive approach"adopted under this program. The data for the study come from 4,316 household surveys in 727 villages. The study uses matching methods with the population and socioeconomic census, as well as an instrumental variable approach to construct a retrospective control group. The analysis finds that the program has been able to achieve its primary objective of improving livelihoods by transitioning more women into work. The program has also expanded access to credit, increased the proportion of savings, and reduced interest rates on credit for rural households. This is the first study to estimate the annual income effects of a government-run rural livelihoods program in India, and it shows significant increases in median income across the sample. The results for 30th, 40th, and 75th percentiles are also large and significant. However, the study did not find significant average treatment effects for income. Contrary to previous studies, this study finds weaker impacts on assets, except for livestock.
    Date: 2019–06–11
  7. By: Wieser,Christina; Bruhn,Miriam; Kinzinger,Johannes Philipp; Ruckteschler,Christian Simon; Heitmann,Soren
    Abstract: This paper studies the effect of rolling out mobile money agents in rural Northern Uganda. In a randomized experiment, 168 areas were randomly selected to receive an agent in 2017, with another 163 areas serving as a control group. Administrative data on mobile money transactions suggest that the agent rollout increased the probability of sending and receiving peer-to-peer transfers. Data from a 2018 survey of more than 4,500 households show that the agent rollout led to cost-savings for remittance transactions. It also doubled the nonfarm self-employment rate, from 3.4 to 6.4 percent, and reduced the fraction of households with very low food security from 62.9 to 47.2 percent, in areas far from a bank branch. The analysis finds no effect on savings, agricultural outcomes, or poverty. Overall, the findings add new evidence that mobile money can improve livelihoods even in poor and remote settings.
    Keywords: ICT Economics,Inequality,Employment and Unemployment,Transport Services,Nutrition,Food Security
    Date: 2019–06–25
  8. By: Pritha Mitra; Eric M. Pondi Endengle; Malika Pant; Luiz F. Almeida
    Abstract: Global attention to ending child marriage and its socio-economic consequences is gaining momentum. Ending child marriage is not only critical from a development perspective but it also has important economic implications. This paper is the first to quantify the relationship between child marriage and economic growth. Applying a simultaneous equations model, the analysis shows that eliminating child marriage would significantly improve economic growth—if child marriage were ended today, long-term annual per capita real GDP growth in emerging and developing countries would increase by 1.05 percentage points. The results also provide insights on policy prioritization in developing comprehensive strategies to end child marriage. For example, the strong interdependent relationship between education and child marriage suggests that education policies and the budgets that support them should place greater emphasis on reducing child marriage.
    Date: 2020–02–07
  9. By: Hâle Utar
    Abstract: I study how urban violence due to drug trafficking affects industrial development and employment in an emerging economy. Employing rich longitudinal plant-level data covering all of Mexico from 2005–2010, and exploiting plausibly exogenous spatiotemporal variation in homicide rates during the outbreak of drug-trade related violence in Mexico, commonly referred to as the Mexican Drug War, I show that a violent environment has a significant negative impact on manufacturing plants’ output, product scope, employment, and capacity utilization. Violence also generates a negative blue-collar labor supply shock, leading to a significant reduction in blue-collar employment and a significant increase in skill intensity within plants. The employment effect of violence is stronger on plants with higher shares of lower-wage and female workers. A violent environment also deters domestic, but not international, trade and the output elasticity of violence decreases with reliance on export and import. These results suggest that the rise of drug violence has significant distortive effects on domestic industrial development in Mexico.
    Keywords: Drug War, Mexico, Firms, Violence, Organized Crime, Manufacturing, Labor, Technology, Productivity, Reallocation, Trade, Gender.
    JEL: O12 O14 O18 O54 L25 L60 R11 F14
    Date: 2020–02–27
  10. By: Abate, Gashaw T.; Bernard, Tanguy; Makhija, Simrin; Spielman, David J.
    Abstract: Despite a rapidly growing enthusiasm around applications of information and communications technologies (ICTs) to smallholder agriculture in developing countries, there are still many questions on the effectiveness of ICT-based approaches. This study assesses the effects of videomediated agricultural extension service provision on farmers’ knowledge and adoption of improved agricultural technologies and practices in Ethiopia. The study focuses on a program piloted by the Government of Ethiopia and Digital Green and poses three questions. First, to what extent does video-mediated extension lead to increased uptake of improved agricultural technologies and practices by smallholder farmers? Second, is video-mediated extension targeted at both spouses of the household more effective than when only targeted at the (typically male) household head? Third, how cost-effective is a video-mediated approach to extension provision? The study explores these questions with a randomized controlled trial designed to evaluate the video-mediated approach as applied to three priority crops (teff, wheat, maize) and three technologies (row planting, precise seeding rates, and urea dressing). The trial was implemented in 347 kebeles (village clusters) during the 2017 meher (rainy) season in Ethiopia’s four most agriculturally important regional states. Analysis of data from our surveys of 2,422 households and 896 extension agents indicates that the video-mediated approach is more effective than the conventional approach in achieving several key outcomes. Specifically, we find that videomediated extension reaches a wider audience than the conventional approach and leads to higher levels of agricultural knowledge and uptake of technologies in those kebeles randomly assigned to the program. While our results do point to greater participation and greater knowledge of female spouses in kebeles where both male and female spouses were targeted by the program, we do not find clear evidence that the more inclusive approach translated into higher uptake of the subject technologies and practices. Finally, we find that the video-mediated approach becomes less costly as the scale of operation increases.
    Keywords: ETHIOPIA, EAST AFRICA, AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA, AFRICA, agricultural extension, information and communication technologies (icts), crop management, smallholders, farmers, video-based extension, knowledge transfer,
    Date: 2019
  11. By: Headey, Derek D.; Heckert, Jessica; Ndiaye, Biram; Brero, Mauro; Assey, Vincent
    Abstract: This research was undertaken in order to understand what factors have been driving stunting reduction in Tanzania over the recent past (2005-2015), and what can further accelerate progress against undernutrition in the near future (2015-2025). Chronic undernutrition in early childhood - often indicated by stunting - has highly detrimental consequences for long-term physical and cognitive development, school attendance and performance, and labor productivity and wages in adulthood. Understanding how countries have been able to successfully reduce stunting prevalence, and how they can accelerate this success in the future, are therefore critically important research questions. During the past decade, Tanzania has experienced rapid change in the nutrition status of children 0-5 years, particularly since 2010. Stunting declining from 44.3% in 2004-05 to 42.0% in 2010, before dropping sharply to 34.4% in 2015-16, a decline of 0.9 percentage points per year. This encouraging trend begs the main research question motivating this paper: what explains this progress? We address this question with a quantitative approach built upon both parametric and non-parametric regression techniques, and a simple linear regression decomposition at means. Previous studies applying this approach in South Asia have demonstrated the paramount importance of improvements in household wealth, parental education, maternal and child health care, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). However, a novel contribution of the study is the consideration of infectious diseases, including malaria and HIV/AIDS: both diseases were very common in 2005, yet both saw dramatic improvements in prevention and treatment efforts in subsequent years. We show that proxies for the prevention/treatment of these diseases account for the largest share of the predicted reduction in stunting over 2005-16, that prevention of both diseases is associated with improvements in early childhood nutrition (suggestive of improvements in birth size and growth in early infancy), and that the apparent effects of these public health efforts are larger in regions where the diseases are more prevalent. In contrast, the apparent effects of household wealth, parental education, maternal and child health care and WASH are more important in explaining stunting reduction among older children. Finally, we go beyond historical decompositions by using the regression results to project alternative stunting reduction scenarios to 2025. If trends over 2005-2015 were to continue, Tanzania would fail to achieve the WHA target of a 40% reduction in stunting by 2025. However, an accelerated socio-economic development scenario - in which Tanzania achieves faster progress in a wide range of sectors, including improved child feeding - could achieve the WHA target and see stunting rates fall by a further 14 percentage points by 2025. These results reaffirm that solving stunting requires rapid and coordinated progress in multiple sectors, including nutrition-specific actions and a wide range of nutrition-sensitive actions.
    Keywords: TANZANIA, EAST AFRICA, AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA, AFRICA, malnutrition, HIV infections, malaria, health, children, child nutrition, diet,
    Date: 2019
  12. By: Ragasa, Catherine
    Abstract: The lead farmer (LF) approach has been implemented and heavily promoted nationwide in Malawi since 2009 to support government extension workers and accelerate technology dissemination. Earlier reports have shown that donor-funded projects in Malawi widely adopted the LF approach, indicating positive roles and contributions of LFs. However, national data show persistently low rates of adoption of management practices being promoted by the LFs, prompting this study to look closely at the nationwide implementation and effectiveness of the LF approach. Specifically, we model the effects of farmers’ interaction with and exposure to LFs and farmers’ access to LFs’ advice on farmers’ awareness of and adoption of several promoted technologies and management practices. We use data from 531 randomly selected LFs linked to panel data from 2,800 farming households and, using correlated random effects, model the effectiveness of the LF approach on technology awareness and adoption. This is complemented by 55 focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with agricultural extension development officers (AEDOs) and service providers. Our results point to two major conclusions. First, LFs support and assist AEDOs in their work, especially in organizing community meetings and farm demonstrations, and are also an important bridge between farmers and AEDOs. But LFs complement AEDOs’ work rather than substitute for it. In communities without strong AEDOs and community leaders to work with and monitor them, LFs were not active or performed at a substandard level. Second, results show limited coverage and weak implementation and effectiveness of the LF approach at the national level. Only 13 percent of farmers reported receiving agricultural advice from an LF in the last two years, and only 20 percent reported having interacted with an LF. Our econometric models also consistently show neither the farmers’ exposure or interaction with LFs nor farmers’ access to LFs’ advice had an effect on awareness of and adoption of the major agricultural management practices being promoted. When heterogeneity and types of LFs are unpacked, results show that quality of LFs, adoption behavior of LFs, and regular training of LFs have strong and consistent effect on the awareness and adoption of most agricultural practices promoted.
    Keywords: MALAWI, SOUTHERN AFRICA, AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA, AFRICA, agricultural extension, conservation agriculture, sustainable land management, skill training, extension services, lead farmers, effectiveness analysis, technology dissemination, agricultural extension development officers,
    Date: 2019
  13. By: Andersen,Jorgen Juel; Johannesen,Niels; Rijkers,Bob
    Abstract: Do elites capture foreign aid? This paper documents that aid disbursements to highly aid-dependent countries coincide with sharp increases in bank deposits in offshore financial centers known for bank secrecy and private wealth management, but not in other financial centers. The estimates are not confounded by contemporaneous shocks such as civil conflicts, natural disasters, and financial crises, and are robust to instrumenting with predetermined aid commitments. The implied leakage rate is around 7.5 percent at the sample mean and tends to increase with the ratio of aid to GDP. The findings are consistent with aid capture in the most aid-dependent countries.
    Date: 2020–02–18
  14. By: Garcia Moreno,Vicente A.; Gertler,Paul J.; Patrinos,Harry Anthony
    Abstract: A school-based management program was implemented Mexico in 2001 and continued until 2014. This national program, Programa Escuelas de Calidad, was considered a key intervention to improve learning outcomes. In 2006, the national program was evaluated in the Mexican state of Colima, being the first experimental evaluation of the national program. All schools were invited to participate in the program; a random selection was performed to select the treatment and control groups among all the applicants. An intent-to-treat approach did not detect any impact on learning outcomes; a formal school-based management intervention plus a monetary grant was not enough to improve learning outcomes. First, the schools in the evaluation sample, control and treatment, were schools with high learning outcomes. Second, these schools had experienced some years of regular school-based management practices before the evaluation. A difference-in-difference design is used to identify heterogeneous effects of the program on learning outcomes. The difference-in-difference approach shows that the intensity of treatment increased test scores during the first year of the intervention.
    Date: 2019–06–10

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